Worried about putting on weight in the upcoming festival season? You’re not alone. This time of the year can be a minefield for even the most disciplined fitness enthusiasts. But there are ways to enjoy every party and still stay on course with your fitness goals. Read on and learn how.
It’s that magical time of the year again. There’ll be dinners with lavish spreads, parties with endless buffets and boxes upon boxes of mouth-watering mithai.
But there’ll also be that inevitable, nagging feeling of guilt from indulging too much. Is there even a point in trying to be healthy this time of year?
As an experienced fitness trainer, I’ll say there definitely is! If you’ve been working hard on your fitness levels, it would be a shame to throw it all away. Here are some tricks to keep yourself on track:
1. Begin your Day with a Hearty Breakfast
Get into the habit of having a healthy, filling breakfast. On certain days, this might be the only meal you end up having at home. Load up on fruits and cereals – enough to keep your energy levels high for hours. You’ll find it easier to avoid snacking on sweets that will inevitably come your way over the course of the day.
2. Eat Before you Leave
If you’ve got a party to go to, fill yourself up with a healthy and filling meal before leaving. This will make it easy for you to say no to the dangerous delights of ‘party’ food.
3. Exercise Portion Control
Knowing Indian relatives, it’s unlikely you will be able to get away by telling them you’re too full or have already eaten. What you can do in such a situation is accept some food, but serve yourself on a smaller dessert plate for portion control. And when you’re offered mithai, break off a small bit, rather than helping yourself to the whole piece.
4. Don’t Skip Meals
It may seem like a good idea to skip a meal when you know you’re going to be eating out later in the day. But skipping meals, especially if you are not accustomed to it, could mess with your body’s metabolism. Additionally, it could increase your chances of overeating later. Have your meals as you normally do, so when you arrive at the family dinner, you aren’t feeling starved and ravenous!
5. Avoid Unhealthy Snacks
Not everything that is labelled ‘low fat’ is necessarily healthy. You have to be mindful of the calories and carbs contained in the seemingly harmless namkeen that gets so generously passed around at all Indian get-togethers. So pass up on the namkeen, and reach out for the dry fruits, which make a great alternative.
6. Drink Plenty of Water
Keeping yourself hydrated is always a good idea. But during the festival season, it can be a simple and handy way keeping your stomach full so you don’t fall prey to the wandering food platters. In fact, carrying your own water bottle is a good way of avoiding sugar-laden sodas and fizzy drinks when you’re out meeting people.
7. Mind the Alcohol
The one thing that tends to slip through the cracks is alcohol, as most people forget the heavy calorie content in alcoholic beverages. So apart from helping you avoid hangovers for days, it may be a good idea to be stingy with your alcohol intake so you don’t throw your fitness routine completely off track.
8. Gift Healthy Snacks
You know the good old saying ‘You get what you give’? Keep this in mind when purchasing gifts for others. Bringing healthier snacks, like assorted dry fruits (over a box of sweets), is a great way to convey your own food preferences and also encourage healthier habits all around. It may even encourage your friends and family to be mindful when bringing gifts for you.
9. Keep Up with Your Workout Routine
This might seem like a stretch when you’ve had more than a few late nights in a row, but don’t lose sight of your long-term fitness goals. It is worth taking a pause, resting your body, getting good sleep, and then returning to your workout routine, to make sure your body doesn’t lose the rhythm of a routine.
10. Don’t Stress!
And last but not least – if you have been overindulgent for a few days, don’t be too hard on yourself about it. Your weight is not going to be massively affected by a little bit of cheating here and there. But, stressing about it can certainly do damage. Stress eating, for example, is a cycle that you certainly don’t want to fall into.
The festive season is a wonderful chance to spend time with friends and family, and take a few well-earned days off from work. The joy that comes from the celebration can do a lot of good, and it would be a shame to miss out on that.
But it would also be a shame to let go entirely of all the work you have put into getting your fitness game on track. In which case, being aware of these ‘party tricks’, so to speak, can take you a long way. And if you still need more motivation to stay on track in the days to come, write to me at Miten@MitenSaysFitness.com . I’ll make sure you stay on track.